Both Sydney teams have started their Big Bash League campaigns with wins, setting up perfectly the Sydney Smash derby tonight at ANZ Stadium. Sydney Thunder will be aiming for their first win at the sixth attempt against the Sydney Sixers, and draw level on points with their cross-town rivals.
While the rivalry between the two Sydney teams is not yet particularly fierce, there is no denying the popularity of the Big Bash League overall. Crowd numbers are impressive again this year, as are television ratings, and the opening round of matches indicate another entertaining campaign is on the cards.
Registering a win in the opening game will have been a huge relief for Sydney Thunder, having managed just three victories in the first three years of the competition. Opponents will no longer look to games against them as an almost guaranteed win, while the players themselves will not feel the pressure associated with a long losing sequence.
The Thunder’s bowling attack has also been significantly strengthened by the addition of Pat Cummins. Cummins has provided glimpses of his ability at international level despite lengthy absences through injury, and he is hoping his performances in the BBL can lead to a place in Australia’s ODI World Cup squad.
With wins in both of their opening games the Sixers have demonstrated that they are once again contenders for the finals. They have Mitchell Starc available for the derby following his release from the Australian Test team. As was the case for the Thunder, it was a veteran who caught the eye this week for the Sixers, with Brett Lee proving that he still has the tools to lead a bowling attack in T20 cricket.
Saturday 28th January, ANZ Stadium Homebush 19:10
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